Although Amouage’s Jubilation 25 is technically an oriental chypre, to me it contains the full whack of the fruity chypre DNA put forth by Mitsouko. Without using oak or tree moss at all, Amouage has still managed to dress this up as a traditional fruity, mossy chypre that smells as bracingly stern as its French predecessors. The opening is bitter and smoky, owing to the massive dose of lemon, tarragon, and lemony-astringent Frankincense, but it is also quite shockingly animalic, with its audacious use of cumin to approximate the salty sweat of human skin. I find the opening quite intense and it took me a while to warm up to it.
Despite the different notes for each, I feel that the bitter, smoky opening of Jubilation 25 matches that of Mitsouko in both tone and feel. I don’t really know anything about how perfumers construct their perfumes, but how Amouage managed to arrive at that happy meeting of minds with the great Mitsouko without actually using any of the materials used in Mitsouko is amazing to me.
The salty bitterness of the incense and herbs is carried on through to the heart of the fragrance, where a huge, jammy rose suddenly blooms. There is fruit here too, an almost overripe, over-full note that smells like peaches, grapey jasmine, and plums. But the fruit and floral notes are just an accent against the real backdrop of this fragrance, which is a thick wall of smoky, bitter resins, incense, herbs, and dry, dusty cumin. Compared to Mitsouko in the mid-section, Jubilation 25 feels infinitely richer, more oriental, and more golden. It also feels tougher, more masculine, and less approachable than Mitsouko. This surprises me. This is supposedly the female of the Jubilation species. But I think it is utterly unisex, if not leaning a bit masculine.
The drydown certainly supports my theory of masculinity in this perfume – characterized by leathery labdanum, more incense, and a heap of dry woods, it is now starkly different from the softer, greener oakmoss in Mitsouko. Imagine Mitsouko and Jubilation 25 starting off as two sister stars within kissing distance of each other, and then spinning out in two completely different directions in space. Mitsouko ends in the classic whisper of moss and spiced peach, a very French, austere but soft exhalation. Jubilation 25 starts off in the same arrondissement as Mitsouko but lands in an Arabian spice market, where dry and bitter barkhour chips are being smoked over a burner.
It is a little harsh, this overload of bitter spices and resins, but at the same time, it is interesting and beautiful. How I feel about Jubilation 25 in general, though, tends to depend on how Mitsouko is treating me at any given time. Right now, in the depths of winter, Mitsouko seems to be opening up a lot more for me, so my decant of Jubilation 25 extrait tends to lie there, largely ignored for now. But once Mitsouko’s capricious pendulum swings back the other way and hits me on the ass, I will surely turn to Jubilation 25 for my chypre fix. Jubilation 25 is at least an immutable experience for me.
Border between Feminine and Unisex
This is classified as a woman's fragrance, but it falls on the line between woman and unisex. It is (in my opinion) a floral chypre with an opining of floral, salt, and a slight odor of sweat. It dries down to more salt and sweat, with the spicy floral and amber making an appearance. Oakmoss is barely there in the background. I couldn't pull this off, but some men could.
Pros: Rich deep complexity
Cons: the salty perspiration note is a bit strong.
I admire this rather than like it. I am a fan of deep green and floral chypres but for me this doesn't fall into either of these categories. Yes I get a dose of spicy top, yes I get a whole heap of flowers running right through until the very final dry down, when I get spicy incense and vanilla rather than amber.
Unfortunately this combination in the first 3 hours made me slightly headachy and nauseous. It may simply be I'm unused to such rich and complex elixir. I feel a spring day when it's crisp and sunny may vastly improve my response to this
l get a very herbal vibe from this, maybe cumin or tarragon, & it makes me think of curry for the first hour or so. l get the incense/animalic notes, & then the florals peep through, the herbs become woodier, & it's more of a classic French perfume; florals so well-blended that l can't pick them out, & a touch of fruit, but still that spicy incense. 4 hours in there's a trace of amber, & then it begins to fade into a base of mossy woods. lt's a bit of an oddity to me & not like anything l've smelled before, it's almost as if they threw every ingredient they had to hand into one fragrance. l respect it's composition, but it's not really my style. l think it would probably appeal to lovers of mossy chypres like Cristalle.
I disliked the opening. It was harshly aldehydic with no softer elements as counterbalance. The arrival of incense didn’t make it more palatable either. After around 10 minutes I did detect something floral lurking in the background but its identity remained hidden. And when the jammy rose finally made its appearance beyond the 20-minute mark, it did not floor me. Neither did the rest of the fragrance.
Maybe I just grew bored of it. Perhaps the excellent Jubilation XXV had raised my expectations higher than they needed to be. It’s just that as a composition JUBILATION 25 breaks no new grounds. It retains the classic feel of Chanel No.5 and smells similar to Fendi. While it is superbly constructed I can’t say if it is better than its predecessors.
At Amouage’s more exclusive prices, Jubilation 25 could certainly afford to impress with a little more originality. Instead, wearing it might just make you feel as though you are going to a high society gala dressed in a pricier version of the outfit you wore to the prom 25 years earlier. Others however might call that 'classic'.
I find this and Jubilation XXV for Men my favorite of the Amouage line do date (though I am "courting" Lyric for Women at this time and enjoying it.) XXV for women is a Middle Eastern concept fragrance for Western tastes. Citrus/possibly citron, Bulgarian rose, frankincense and myrrh are up front with a wide assortment of secondary scents that I think that I can identify as tarragon, amber (not quite enough for my taste), a healthy shot of patchouli, musk, with the whole sweetened by what I suspect is ylang ylang.
To me, however, the fragrance has problems. One is a pervasive fruit note that simply won't go away. It is very distracting from the rest of the scent, almost cheapening it. The other is that the bright and wonderful initial blast of resins fades far too quickly. What remains is nice in a conventional sort of way, but not what I expected after trying Jubilation XXV for Men; that's more like the early classic Amouage.